Today, Queen Elizabeth II shared remarks of sensitivity, fortitude, and hope with Great Britain and the world.
Here are a few words from the preface to Church in Society: First-Century Citizenship Lessons for Twenty-First-Century Christians, following which is a brief insight into Her Majesty’s personal faith in a short excerpt from the chapter on the Church’s relationship with politics:
In the pages ahead, I hope to both inform and challenge your perspective on citizenship as a Christian. Like much of twenty-first-century Christianity, you and I have been influenced by the changing society in which we live. What if we could reverse that influence so that instead of changes in society influencing us, as Christians you and I influenced the changes in society?
Church in Society – Chapter Twelve – The Church, Politics
One of the most influential world leaders of our lifetime in the area of politics is non-partisan. She is a diminutive woman who is unabashedly Christian in her approach to life, service, and politics.
When Elizabeth Windsor’s father died unexpectedly while she was in Kenya, Princess Elizabeth became Queen of the United Kingdom, and of Canada among other Commonwealth realms. Queen Elizabeth II is not required to care for the poor, be attentive to strangers, or speak publicly about her belief in Jesus Christ, but she does. From her earliest radio broadcast on her twenty-first birthday in 1947, in her annual Christmas addresses over the last six decades, and at other times, Elizabeth II has been very public that “I know how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad… I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel.”
In 1986, the Queen said:
His (Jesus’) life thus began in humble surroundings, in fact in a stable, but he was to have a profound influence on the course of history, and on the lives of generations of his followers. You don’t have to be rich or powerful in order to change things for the better and each of us in our own way can make a contribution.
We cannot all be a monarch, with the attendant privileges and responsibilities, but we can influence the realm we touch, whether great or small.
The Queen rarely misses church on Sunday. Commenting on world happenings and personal difficulties she experienced in 1992, Her Majesty expressed gratitude for “all those whose prayers—fervent, I hope, but not too frequent—have sustained me.” On other occasions she has also mentioned her prayers for those whom she serves as Queen, notably in many of her annual Christmas addresses. About that 1992 speech, one of the Queen’s biographers writes,
In a secular age, it is perhaps surprising to hear a leading international figure who is not a member of the clergy talk of prayer in the middle of a public speech. The Queen didn’t have to do so. She chose to do so.
In 2016, for her ninetieth birthday, the United Kingdom’s longest- serving monarch wrote, “I have been—and remain—very grateful to you for your prayers and to God for His steadfast love.”
Prayer does make a difference.
For most Christians, we are challenged in our earthly citizenship to move from prayer to participatory action in the political process, action which covers the range from informed voting to governance as an elected officeholder. Let us do so with upward-mindedness, forward-thinking, and the well-being of all in mind, for in their well-being we will find our well-being ( Jeremiah 29:4–7).
You can watch the Queen’s remarks on Covid-19 at The Royal Family Channel on YouTube.
This link will take you to the Table of Contents for Church in Society, should you want an overview of the book.